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The first inkling that this book club was going to be *different* was when Sharon and I prowled the quiet, snowy road, just trying to find the house where it was taking place. When we did find it, I had to be careful not to say anything inappropriate. Something like, "Wow, my whole house would fit in this living room!"  I sometimes think about what financial success would be like, and because I don't really like to clean, I don't think a big house would be the way I would go. But it was beautiful, large windows looking out onto the constantly falling snow.

It's always interesting to... Read More...

This is what happens: Six of your friends, among them people you have known for over twenty years, the people who stayed in the place you left, will show up. They will bring Prosecco and buy books and ask you to read. You will sit around on small chairs in the children's section of the bookstore and eat sugar cookies and talk about the old days. When finally it is obvious nobody from the general public is going to show up, everyone will endure another white knuckle drive to the next town, where you will encounter many cars stuck in the snow and will attempt to push them out. Because this... Read More...

The best things about a local book signing? Getting to see your friends you never see because, life. Meeting people who apparently live in the same town as you do but whom you have never met. The worst things? Figuring out what part of the book to read--you don't want to have spoilers for those who have not read that far, and you don't want to bore those who have already read the book. Another thing? What to wear! And how to wear your beautiful, slippery-soled Old Gringo boots that cost a fortune but darn it, you want to wear them despite the ice without falling and killing yourself.

... Read More...

Once in a while, I see where someone has posted on Facebook or  in a blog: "Guess it's time to start on that book!" All I can say is: I hope you have lots of time!

One thing I didn't realize before setting out on the road of traditional publishing is how glacially slow it is. As an example, with the Geography of Water:

  • First submittal was in fall of 2012
  • Contract signed in fall of 2014
  • Publishing was in the fall of 2015.

Along the way there was: work with a developmental editor, revisions after two Press readers gave input, review... Read More...

Once as I was lifting weights at the gym, a man I had never spoken to before strode in. "Hey, True Believer!" he hollered. I am still not sure what he meant. Was I a believer in fitness? In dragging myself to the gym when I really wanted to lie on the couch? Who knows. I was reminded of this last night when I went to a local book club. They had picked The Geography of Water as their November book and wanted me to come talk about  it.

As I stuffed my face ate delicious food, it dawned on me that what an author really needs is a group of True Believers. People who are champions... Read More...

The evolution:

"I just want to have a book published before I die."

"I have a book contract! I don't care if only my mom reads it, that's good enough for me!"

"So...everybody! I wrote a book! It's for sale! If you want to buy it...."

"Hey! Over here! Here's a book! That I wrote! Buy it!"

I'm sort of kidding. But it's easy to let Book Enthusiasm take over. I'll travel all over to sign the book! soon becomes...where can I afford to travel? which then becomes, I can't really afford to travel. You have to be strategic. My publisher asked if I would come to... Read More...

I'm at the "wanting to vomit" stage of my new novel. What helps: to look back at the first paragraphs, because they're good (this helped me a lot through The Geography of Water). Otherwise, there's always the writer's favorite thing, procrastination! I don't recommend trying some of these, but I may or may not have done some:

1. Go  into bathroom. Peer at face. Google "facelift". Decide to keep face as is.

2. Google "how to cut hair in layers." Try it. Fill with regret.

3. Tell yourself you are getting exercise as you walk to the jar with homemade brownies.

4.... Read More...

The young hippie paused at the doorway of the old barn, biting her lip. She had an interview with the rancher who lived here, and if the alternative paper in Portland published it, her couch surfing days might be over. But suddenly her Birkenstocks seemed out of place (she had already stepped in cow poo once). She tossed her long, wavy, brown-sugar-colored hair in determination. She couldn't let a little bumpersticker like "Canadian Wolves--Government Sponsored Terrorists" stop her, could she?

Suddenly she stumbled over an old rake. So clumsy! And there he was, the rancher. He... Read More...

Winter, we keep saying, is coming. Even though it was sixty degrees yesterday, and there isn't much snow in the mountains. We need a big winter here. Last year was disastrous for this state and especially for Washington. 

The good thing about winter is that it brings me inside. I bake bread. I make real food--crockpot stews, Cornish pasties (look them up), lasagna. I do yoga. I go to the gym. All things I neglect during the summer mania. I also write.

I'd love to say I am one of those highly disciplined writers who arise at five to pound out 5,000 words a day. Alas, this is... Read More...

All I'm saying is, if you have accomplished something, you'd better be ready. Not that reporters have been flocking to my door, but one came from our local paper. He was very nice about a) me wanting to sit outside instead of in; and b) my cat, Puffin, leaping on his shoulder (the cat loves to do this, and the sight of a black furry projectile can scare some).

I lead a lot of conference calls on the phone, with high ranking people I don't know, so I have gotten pretty good at thinking on my feet. But still. There are questions I fumbled around, such as, "what other writers inspire... Read More...

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